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Hollow Keeper

by Kyla Smith 5 months ago in Horror · updated 5 months ago
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I know that I can’t let her into the hands of this wolf and what safer place than hidden in my bosom?

Hollow Keeper
Photo by Stormseeker on Unsplash

For centuries the fishes have asked me my name, but the answer is always the same. You already know the answer of course; why would the fish keep asking me if I knew?

My name was lost to the rivers and taken out to sea, but I can still feel it lingering on my shores as I try to lap it in softly. The mountains surrounding my pebbled beach echo their names for me, but they’re never the same. Even if I had heard my name, would I recognize it anymore?

The fishes refer to me as Hollow Keeper, which I’ve come to swallow along with my pride. It’s just another name that will be lost in time; something I look forward to.

“Brooke!”

See, another name; just when I think the cliffs have given up.

“Brooke LYNN!”

Not the cliffs... the trees. I shift my waves farther up the beach in question to hear what they have to say. Unlike the echoing shouts of the mountains, the tree’s gentle whispers barely make it to the single rotting dock resting on my surface.

"Someone's coming..." the trees hissed. "She's running to you..."

Who? I ask myself. The deer or crow? Of course not; someone is shouting. In answer to my own wondering, a child runs from the dark shelter of the woods but immediately slips on wet pebbles. The wind carries my sudden gasp across the beach to pick up the child, a girl. She wraps her arms around herself and sprints to the dock, looking behind her shoulder as she races towards me.

Odd; it's hardly the hour for a person to be playing in my waves, let alone a child. She kneels down at the end of the dock and shifts her gaze between my ripples and the woods she came from. The moonlight reflects her image back to me and I can now see the fright in her eyes. Tears flood down her frost-nipped cheeks and her dark hair sticks to her glazed forehead.

I begin to question her as to why she was shouting, then hesitated. She was too delicate of a thing to shout in the tone I had witnessed. Who hurt you? I ask.

She doesn’t answer, but continues to look at me as if she’s trying to find something down in the fishes’ bed. Her hand reaches out to touch me and I send a wave to gently caress her fingers. Slowly, she dips her arm farther below my surface until she’s at risk of diving in.

“Brooke, where are you!”

The girl retracts her arm and whips her head around to the voice in the woods. Following the voice, a dark figure stumbles from the cover of the trees. I can now see the voice calling to her has been a man. The wind breezes past him and lands on my waves to deliver a message:

“The man is tinted with blood and reeks of death... He’s looking for her...”

As if on cue, he turns his attention to the rocking dock, noticing the outline of a creature sulking over my waves. The child’s breath stalls, just as it was beginning to settle. For a moment she sits there, willing herself not be seen, but it’s too late. The man makes a quick advance toward the dock before he himself slips on the pebbles of my beach. He curses loudly and takes too long to get back up.

Within a second, the girl has dove into me with a subtle splash. I wrap myself around her, trying to give the same comfort I offer the creatures that live in my body, but she fights me. She propells herself back to the surface and flattens her chest against the dock. Her feet swing naturally underneath it with help from my current and her toes flinch at the feeling of algae. The man stops abruptly, pausing for only a brief second, before breaking into a run. Before he can make it to the end of the dock, he falls to his hands and knees and hurls into my crystal waves. I curse at him and rock the dock violently, hoping to shake him off, until I notice how uneasy I’ve made the child. Her knuckles have turned as white as the foam on my waves and I instantly calm my waters. She heaves for breath as the man regains his balance and I realize that time is running out.

I know that I can’t let her into the hands of this wolf and what safer place than hidden in my bosom? I contemplate and churn this option in my waters, but there’s no more time; the man has continued his rocky sprint to the end of the dock and in seconds will have snatched the girl.

My girl.

With the force of my current I rip at her legs. She hardly notices at first, but my grip tightens around her as I drag her down. The fishes scatter to the outside of my whirlpool, intent on watching how the scene will play out. But I know there’s only one ending. I yank her hard towards the mud and she lets out a terrified cry as her fingers begin to slip. I loosen my grip and she bobs back to the surface. The fear in her eyes has me regretting my choices, but only for a moment. I caress her cheek with my waves, the only sign I can give her that I’m trying to help. That she’ll be safe with me.

“Brook!” The man wolf appears over the edge of the dock and digs his claws into my girl’s shoulders. Enough playing, I decide. I wrap myself around her tighter than ever and pull her hard.

“Help me!”

I’m trying. Trust me, I’m trying.

My girl’s fingers finally slip free from the dock, sending even larger ripples across my surface and plunging her body even farther into mine.

“Don’t let go!” She gurgles as my waves lap over her face.

I won’t, I promise her.

At last the man wolf’s claws lose their grip and my girl sinks fast. The dock bobs up and down rapidly with the force I had used to propell downward. So rapid in fact, that the man wolf slips on a simple puddle and smacks his head on the edge of the dock as it was bobbing up, knocking him out dead cold. Serves him right, trying to hurt my girl.

My girl!

I refocus my attention to the one I just saved, keeping my grip tight until she calms down. She claws at my waters and kicks and screams, until she immediately ceases. I look into her glistening eyes, hoping for any kind of understanding, but she just seems to look right through me. I take her motionless body and lay her against the muddy floor.

I’ll keep you safe, I promise her. I’ll keep you away from him and everyone else that means you harm. From this point of view, the name the fishes have given me doesn’t seem so terrible. Although I do feel a little less Hollow, watching my girl’s elegant body float inches above the floor. Her hair looking as if being blown by the wind, wild and free. I give her a gentle kiss and thank her. I needed her just as much as she needed me, and now we can be together. My girl and I. A little less alone. I can be her Keeper.

Horror

About the author

Kyla Smith

I’m a 19 year-old stay at home mom and love to write fantasy and fiction from poetry to short stories in my spare time.

Instagram: k.d.smith34

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